Will Lavin

19:03 23rd November 2010

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While he may in fact be one of the most arrogant artists in music, there’s no denying Kanye West’s genius. Whether it’s his knack for picking out samples and making them bigger than the original song they came from (‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’), his ability to lyrically shut down those whose main craft is actually rapping (‘Champions’), or not being afraid to usher in new musical trends (2008’s ‘808’s & Heartbreaks’), there’s no question that Mr. West is the past, present and future of hip-hop.   

After quite possibly the most turbulent few years, which included the Taylor Swift incident, his mother’s death, nude photos, round 2 with former President George Bush, and a gag order issued to his ex-girlfriend, Kanye West’s latest album has had a buzz big enough to rival that of any other artist in 2010.   

Having leaked a few of the tracks that made the final track listing of ‘My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy’ via his Twitter account, a first listen to the album by anyone who follows him on the networking website might seem disappointed expecting completely new material. While this does give a brief cause for concern, after a few spins of the new CD you’ll fall totally head over heels in love with it. Kanye’s genius extends way past just constructing a track. The order in which each song is listed is perfect. There’s no way you could imagine it any other way. The artist roster he’s recruited is far more explosive than anything he’s ever done before. The album isn’t so much played but instead told, like a story. And for those of you who’ve seen the accompanying mini movie, which features in the deluxe edition of the album, will know exactly why.

‘Devil In A Blue Dress’, with its haunting high pitched Smokey Robinson sample, is an incredibly attractive record as far as hitting an emotional nerve, as is the superstar-laced ‘All Of The Lights’. Not only does it feature eleven other acts, which include Alicia Keys, The Dream, Fergie, Elly Jackson (La Roux), John Legend, Rihanna, and Elton John, but its rapid fire drum pattern and brass section turn it in to something epic. If there was ever a flawless score that could close out an Oscar-worthy motion picture, this is it.

Returning to his first love, hardcore hip-hop, although it still features Bon Ivor, ‘Monster’ is a lyrical boasting cipher that features Jay-Z and Rick Ross. While the boys, including Kanye, spit some serious bars, it’s Nicki Minaj’s verse that puts the boys to shame. Murdering the track with lines like, “And I’ll say boy the Chucky is Child’s Play/ Just killed another career it’s a mild day/ Besides ‘Ye they can’t stand besides me/ I think me, you and Em should ménage Friday,” there’s no questioning why Kanye is championing the Queens emcee.
Two other tracks that stand out are the John Legend and Chris Rock assisted ‘Blame Game’, and piano-lead ‘Runaway’, which Kanye performed at this years VMA’s. Its on-point drum loop along with West’s lyrical confessional is the reason why hip-hop is not dead. All in all, as the name of his record label suggests, was there any real reason to doubt Kanye West’s ability to deliver good music? The answer’s simple…no.

  • In a rant on his blog: “This is the most offended I’ve ever been…this is the maddest I ever will be. I’m typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!”

  • In an 2008 interview with DJ Semtex: “I don’t even listen to rap. My apartment is too nice to listen to rap in.”

  • After collecting the Billboard Music Award for Artist Of The Year: “I still think I am the greatest.”

  • On a live television appeal for the victims of Hurricane Katrina: “George Bush doesn't care about black people.”

  • On books: "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph."

  • On missing out on the award for Best Video at the MTV EMAs 2006: "I paid a million! It took a month to film! I stood on a mountain! I flew a helicopter over Vegas! I did it to be the king of all videos!"

  • On the fallout from Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna: “Can’t we give Chris [Brown] a break?…. O.J. Simpson, amazing. Is he not? What he did, when he did, what he did. Was he not amazing though?” (VH1 Storytellers, 2009)

  • While interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance Speech at the 2009 MTV VMAs: “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish. But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.”

  • On people’s reaction to his outburst at the MTV VMAs 2009: “I became George Bush over night."

  • Addressing his fans on his blog at the start of 2010: “LET US JUST LOOK PAST HEADLINES AND DEAL WITH JUST A BIT OF REALITY IN THIS NEW DECADE.”

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